Tuesday, November 10, 2009

negative images

The other day, I found a reference somewhere to a study purporting to demonstrate that being unhappy has a number of positive features -- making you less gullible and improving your judgment and memory. The experimenter induced happy or sad moods in his subjects through movies or by prompting recollections of past events and found that those in a negative mood were more critical of, and paid more attention to, their surroundings than happier people, who were more likely to believe anything they were told.

Interestingly enough, the study also found that sad people were better at crafting persuasive written arguments, concluding that a "mildly negative mood may actually promote a more concrete, accommodative and ultimately more successful communication style." Which, I suppose, may fit in with the frequently-made observation that negative posts often seem, not only more interesting to read, but easier to write. Or, to put it another way, (as Tolstoy almost said) happy blogs are all alike; every unhappy blog is unhappy in its own way.

Anyway, what's your mood today: :) or :( or some other emoticon altogether?


leanne said...


I'm back at work and no longer have the flu (just a cough that I can live with). And your creative use of Tolstoy made me smile...

areyoukiddingme said...

I'm pretty much in a constant state of :|

Kind of skeptical, but willing to be happy at a moment's notice.

Virginia said...

Is there an emoticon for tired, with headache? Or one for please give me gin?

No? Oh well.

jill said...


(Watched a comedian recently who said the winky sad face wasn't a valid emotion. I don't remember who it was but it was hilarious!)

Not happy, not sad, just here... at work.

jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tash said...

Wow, I would buy all of that but for the memory. I'm pretty constantly negative and have a hard time remembering what I ate for breakfast.

today I'm meh :\

angie said...


Kymberli said...

For me, it would be:

??? and

>:( and

:( and

:/ but still mostly

:) through all of it.

If there was an accurate emoticon for unfocused, I'd be that, too.

Julia said...

These days I am pretty constantly :(

I am pretty sure it would be greatly modified by finding a job. But the flip side is that if the current drought continues, I am looking at ages of :( Though I gather from this that I should be better at writing my job search letters while in the dumps, ha?

Furrow said...

My memory is crap, and I blame it on years of anti-depressant use, which was a result of being unhappy.

I don't know the emoticon for have-been-angry-and-sullen-for-no-good-reason-and-now-I'm-just-sick-of-myself.

But here's my best approximation of my hairstyle on a humid day. Or any day, pretty much.
~~~ :-}

I spent way too much time on that, and it will probably not look right when I publish.

Ya Chun said...

I am not sure about the memory part, but I am pretty sure I used to remember stuff better...

and I luv the ;(

is this one valid ;|

winking cranky?

MFA Mama said...

Since you asked, if you open g-chat and type in ~@~ that is EXACTLY what my mood is today.

Bluebird said...

I love this. I feel totally validated, for one :) And two, it ties in perfectly with my ongoing fight with my MIL about whether I am actually a negative person or whether I am, in fact, just realistic and matter-of-fact. I, of course, claim the later. SHE, on the other hand, believes the former because she is so flippin' positive, head-stuck-in-the-sand about *everything*, that she refuses to acknowledge that real life sometimes has shit in it!!!

*Whew!* Sorry, I digress. Thank you for this post, I am forwarding it to my husband since I am too passive aggressive to actually forward it to MIL herself :)

Calliope said...

I swing between :o and :\
I am trying to figure out if I am a negative person or just a person that needs to learn to deal with chaos better. I mean there has to be a difference between thinking the sky is falling and actually watching the sky fall. right?

Aunt Becky said...

My eyeballs are popping out of my head with a migraine. Is there an emoticon for that?

Trish said...

As you probably already know, I am always :)

I wonder if this is a character flaw???

Meg said...

my favorite emoticon is not really a face at all, but fun to make


what do you think? thought i'd add some fun. ;)

Ruby said...


painted maypole said...

feelin' pretty good today. took that bad attitude I had most of the day Saturday and turned it around... and it's still good. yay.

Emily said...


Gretchen said...


That's the Bite Me icon. I just made it up.

passingwindows said...

How funny, I came across that same study (from the sound of it) and read it thinking, "Mmm, what do you know? There's a good side ..."